How Newport Live uses Frog Bikes to drive kids cycling courses

24 January 2022

In 2018, the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales, one of five internationally recognised indoor velodromes in the UK, partnered with Frog Bikes to improve and drive their kids’ cycling sessions at the velodrome.

Overview
In 2012 a young boy from Holland was riding around the velodrome’s track on his balance bike, it was a real light-bulb moment! From that, the idea of offering kids cycling sessions was born.

One of the Site Managers had an 18-month old son who then tried it out and thoroughly enjoyed himself, so the velodrome decided to invest in some childrens’ bikes and make the offering official. They purchased 10 high street brand bikes and began offering one 45 minute balance bike session for toddlers per week.

Challenges
After three weeks the velodrome was having to turn people away as the demand for the toddler training sessions was so popular!

After much research and consideration, the velodrome gradually expanded the training programme and was able to buy more bikes. However, it quickly became apparent that the high street bikes they had purchased were not durable enough to withstand the use. The chains, tyres and brakes were wearing fast, so they needed to find high-quality bicycles that were robust and durable enough to provide longevity.

Steve Miller, Track Cycling Development Manager at the Velodrome commented, “We needed premium kids bikes that could be easily repaired in the event of wear and tear and last for many years! We learned our lesson if you buy cheap you buy twice and the investment into higher quality bikes is much better in the long run. We also wanted to partner with a brand, not just buy their bikes, as a long-term relationship with a like-minded partner would aid our growth and support our goals.”

Approach
Whilst Steve was coaching at an Olympic velodrome in London he saw Frog Bikes lined up on the rack, which made a lasting impression. The bikes were placed in colour and size order with a colourfully branded Frog Bikes backdrop, making a real impact!

Steve commented, “The bikes were of premium quality, affordable and available in striking colours, but more importantly they were all built specifically for the children’s anatomy, so it made sense to offer bikes like these for the velodromes’ cycling sessions.”

“We researched many quality kids bike brands, but we kept coming back to Frog Bikes. We really liked the crank lengths and the sizing worked better as it was more specific to the child than other brands which in turn would result in children having greater confidence on the bikes and faster skills progression. Plus we had the huge benefit of not having to replace them regularly like the bikes we’d previously purchased.”

The partnership also provides the velodrome with impactful dual-branded areas, including advertising boards, banners and screens, cycling programmes, and an eye-catching storage area for the bikes to be held in between sessions. The velodrome also benefits from extended reach through a range of partnership marketing with Frog Bikes and special commercial terms for the bike fleets.

Achievements
Whilst the kids’ cycling sessions started using only balance bikes, the Geraint Thomas Velodrome is now able to offer sessions to all ages and abilities as the Frog Bikes range accommodates different sizes and disciplines.

The current cycling sessions include:

  • Balance bikes - to help 2-5-year-olds build balance and coordination
  • Learn to ride - to help 4-5-year-olds transition from balance to pedal
  • Learn to ride 6+ - to assist 6 years + to learn to ride a bike
  • First pedal - for children 4-7 years to practice basic bike skills
  • Cycle skills - coaching for confident riders aged 4+ years on bike control
  • MTB - for children to learn mountain bike skills
  • Go ride - a session focussed on bike handling & group riding skills, with regular Go-Ride race days to keep the kids engaged



Steve commented, “We are now able to offer 7 sessions each week, totalling 63 spaces for kids to learn new cycling skills. And a whopping 98% average of these are filled weekly! Whilst there have been some restrictions to the sessions and capacity limitations to comply with Covid regulations, we are looking forward to offering the full programme again.”

“The other huge benefit is that as Frog bikes are so robust the maintenance on them is very minimal, so we can spend more time focussing on the cycling programme and getting children on bikes, rather than repairs!”

Through these cycling sessions, the velodrome has even helped create an award-winning cyclist, who is competing weekly at MTB, Cycle X and crit events, winning numerous medals. At the mere age of 7-years-old, he started at the velodrome on a Frog balance bike at just 2-years-old.

Future plans
And if that isn’t enough, the Geraint Thomas Velodrome won’t be stopping there! Their future plans include offering Frog Bikes sports camps in the school holidays, cycling proficiency sessions in Summer, a scheme also supported by Newport City Council to provide cycling sessions for kids who may not have access to a bike at home, larger MTB sessions, Wheels for All sessions, more sessions for older children and developing sessions that will take place outside. Their primary goal, which is shared with Frog Bikes, is to make cycling accessible and to help get more kids on bikes!

Conclusion / Summary
To transform the children’s cycling sessions into a successful permanent fixture at the velodrome it was necessary to offer a premium product and partner with a like-minded organisation.

The Geraint Thomas Velodrome made significant improvements to the quality of bicycles that they originally offered by introducing Frog Bikes, resulting in a huge uptake in kids cycling sessions, faster progression for the children as the bikes are lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and much easier to learn on. And, due to the quality componentry, the velodrome spends a lot less time on bike maintenance.

Thousands of children now come through the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales and get to learn on and ride Frog bikes. By deciding to invest in premium quality bikes the velodrome’s kids cycling sessions have gone from strength to strength growing 87% since partnering with Frog Bikes.

Find out about Newport Live kids’ cycling sessions

Newport Live offer a range of cycling sessions for children, from teaching them to ride a bike to getting them track-ready, find out more here >>

Interested in partnering with Frog Bikes?

If you’d like to partner with Frog Bikes please take a look at our Partnership brochure for more information.


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